Durham Manor has been on a watch list at the county and state levels for months. It is owned by Burlington businessman Faiger Blackwell.
A broken fire alarm discovered last Friday was reportedly the last straw. The state prepared to close the rest home with backup from Durham County, but Blackwell out-maneuvered them.
"We know he had to know something and it didn't come from us," said Dan Hudgins, Durham County Social Services director."We were prepared, our staff had their vehicles here, we were ready to go move those residents. We got a call from Mr. Blackwell in the afternoon. He was there and the residents had been moved."
The five residents were taken to rest homes in Caswell County. Hudgins said the move was improper.
"There are procedures that an operator goes through to move a resident from one facility to another. We don't believe he complied with all of those," Hudgins said.
According to the North Carolina Division of Facility Services, no residents can be admitted or re-admitted to Durham Manor.
Jane Evans' mother lived in another of Blackwell's Durham rest homes. Evans said it is time that the state shuts down all of Blackwell's rest homes.
"I think his license should be taken away and he shouldn't even own any of these facilities or have any part with any of them," Evans said.
Blackwell's other Durham facilities, Durham Village and Hanson Hills, are also under scrutiny.
"We have concerns about the health and safety of the residents in those facilities and I put that in writing and faxed that letter to the state [Thursday] morning," Hudgins said.
Blackwell is scheduled to meet with state officials Friday. He could face stiff fines stemming from Wednesday's transfer of residents.
Blackwell owns numerous businesses, ranging from rest homes in several counties to a small movie studio. WRAL tried to reach Blackwell, but he did not return the calls.
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